Money Quotes to Live By

pepi-stojanovski-MJSFNZ8BAXw-unsplashWhat’s your favorite quote on money? That was the question asked in a Q&A while leading my Affording Your Lifestyle workshop for the Prison Entrepreneurship Program. There’s hundreds of quotes to take to heart or take to the bank. I share my favorite in every financial workshop: “If you can’t live on $30,000 a year, you won’t be able to live on $300,000.” If you won’t live on a balanced budget when you don’t have two nickels to rub together, you’ll never have the discipline to live within your means and create long-term wealth.

josh-appel-QSipy5RFcSA-unsplash

Each of the quotes below are worth a read and some reflection. How does each quote resonate with you? What feelings do they evoke? Which ones might you apply more of in you life? Solid financial stewardship provides the foundation for building a life plan. It’s important to evaluate your money mindset, worldview, and the role money plays in your life. Is your relationship with money working for you and helping you achieve your dreams?

My Favorite Money Quotes

Money Mindset

  • “Too many people spend money they earned…to buy things they don’t want…to impress people that they don’t like.” [Will Rogers]
  • “If you live for having it all what you have is never enough.” [Mike Ditka]
  • “Don’t let the fear of losing be greater than the excitement of winning.” [Robert Kiyosaki]
  • “A big part of financial freedom is having your heart and mind free from worry about the what-ifs of life.” [Suze Orman]

Money Principles

  • “Never spend your money before you have it.” [Thomas Jefferson]
  • “Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” [Ayn Rand]
  • “Time is more value than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” [Jim Rohn]
  • “You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.” [Dave Ramsey]
  • “The only way you’ll take control of your financial future is to dig deep inside yourself and fix the root problem that got you into your financial mess.” [Sandra Dillon]

Money Purpose

  • “Wealth is not about having a lot of money; it’s about having a lot of options.” [Chris Rock]
  • “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” [Winston Churchill]

melissa-walker-horn-76HIoI5Ni1E-unsplash

“Money is not the currency that measures success” is a worldview counter to today’s message. I care about money in terms of its influence to achieve my servant leadership goals. If you have a favorite financial quote or a money message that’s had a major impact on your life, I’d love to hear from you.

priscilla-du-preez-9R8tERq66HU-unsplash


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership, finances, and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs, and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

 

How Does Your Relationship with Money Affect Your Life?

sharon-mccutcheon-rItGZ4vquWk-unsplash

When I ask clients to describe their relationship with money, most times I get a confused look. They’re not sure how to respond to that question, because they haven’t given much thought to money along those lines. Eventually, some may say that money is a means of getting what they want, a necessity to buy the basics of life, or the definition of success and power. How would you respond to that question?

Too many people spend money they earned..to buy things they don’t want..to impress people that they don’t like.  [Will Rogers]

We all have a money mindset that translates into a money relationship. Does your money burn a hole in your pocket? Do you put your savings under your mattress? These behaviors all reflect the relationship you have with your money, and if you want to be in charge of your life, you first need to understand your deep-seated relationship with money today. If you are not intentional with your money, your money will be in charge of you.

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. [Benjamin Franklin]

One of the first steps you can do is take a relationship survey with money to identify the role that money plays in your life—your money mindset. Does having money validate you, does it provide a sense of security? Do you use money as means of measuring your self-worth? Or, is it a means to create new experiences?

Your ability to live out your life purpose will be influence by your money mindset. Are they compatible? The health and satisfaction of marriages are heavily influence by each spouse’s relationship with money. Differences can produce intense conflict, if left unresolved, can lead to divorce.  If you’d like to explore your relationship with money and/or how it affects your marriage or partnership, let’s have a conversation.

It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy. [George Lorimer]


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and marriage coaching. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at shinecrossings@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossingsministry.com

 

Conflict: How to Move from Anger to Love

christian-fregnan-W5Vf2fiDvss-unsplashHow many times has someone said or done something that you chose to respond in anger, whether you held back or expressed your emotions? Did you notice how I phrased it as a choice? Most people blame other people for what they feel such as “He made me mad when he said or did…” When you choose to exercise a 100% responsibility mindset, you’ll realize that you own your feelings and your choices.

How does one own their negative feelings and move into a place of peace and safety? The path starts with anger and moves through hurt, fear, remorse, forgiveness, appreciation, and finally ends in love. People commonly get stuck in the fear stage, because it requires personal awareness, humility, and at times uncomfortable decision-making to make it all the way to love. They are required to process their feelings (anger, hurt, and fear) and then move into what can feel like difficult choices (forgiveness, appreciation, and love).

Anger-Love 1

 

Example: From Anger to Love

Moving toward remorse requires you to claim responsibility for what you created, contributed, promoted, or allowed to happen. You may not feel practiced or skills, but you can start now. Let’s take an example of how this process might work.

ANGER: My mother makes me angry. Every time I talk with her, she tells me all the things I should be doing with my life and how I’m not making good decisions. She doesn’t realize it, but we’re talking less and less, because she doesn’t have anything positive to say.

HURT: I’m hurt that my mother doesn’t have enough faith in me to make good decisions. I wouldn’t say that all my decisions are the best, but compared to others, I’m holding my ground, and I’m willing to live with their consequences.

FEAR: I’m afraid if I say anything to my mom about the way she is hurting me, I’ll hurt her feelings, she’ll get defensive, or worse yet, it will damage our relationship. I also don’t want her thinking I’m a failure.

REMORSE: I regret not saying anything to her about how I feel. I’m not honoring our relationship by not being respectfully truthful and allowing the distance to grow in our relationship. I own that, and it’s gone on for too long.

FORGIVENESS: I forgive my mother. I know she worries about me, she loves me, and she has the best intentions. Unfortunately, she doesn’t understand what her comments are doing to our relationship, because I haven’t shared my feelings with her. How could I blame her for something she didn’t know?

APPRECIATION: I appreciate my mom. Some people have mothers who don’t even care. I’m lucky to have a mother who cares enough to share what’s on her heart.

LOVE: I love my mom for all that she does for me. Because I love her, I’m going to share my feelings, give examples so she understands what I’m referring to, and then put in appropriate boundaries for our conversations so we can have a positive relationship.

caleb-ekeroth-wSBQFWF77lI-unsplash


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional life coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She has a passion to help people be the hero of their own life stories. She administers assessments, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Saving Your Marriage: There’s No Quick Fix but You Can Fix It

gus-moretta-BCyfpZE3aVE-unsplash

A married couple sits on opposite ends of our big comfy couch with an emotional chasm between them. I ask, “Tell me why you’re here today?” The wife responds first, “I begged him to come to marriage coaching months ago, and he said we didn’t need anyone’s help. We could figure it out for ourselves. Now we’re both threatening divorce and coming here is our last-ditch effort to see whether we can make our marriage work for the kids’ sake.” The husband follows, “I realize now we should’ve come sooner but can you still help us?”

Our short answer: “Yes, we can help. But I don’t know whether you’re committed to do the hard work and get to the better side.” This usually gets a quizzical look, as if they’re unsure of the answer themselves. They probably don’t know and neither do we, because they’ve never had to work so hard at a relationship to turn it into what they’d dreamed of in the first place. Oxytocin and Serotonin fooled them into thinking they could live off the love chemicals for the length of their marriage.

christiana-rivers-itQV5w_Ishw-unsplash

Next, we share the following ground rules to see whether the couple is willing to play and win.

  1. Understand there is no magic pill—no one and done
  2. Recognize there is no overnight success—it took years to get your marriage in this condition and it will take time to make it better
  3. Appreciate that if you’re not deeply committed to your marriage, it won’t succeed
  4. Be self-introspective and vulnerable about how you show up and impact your marriage
  5. Live out a marriage mindset that you’re 100% responsible for success of your marriage

If the couple can truly get comfortable with these marriage coaching rules, they have a good chance of pulling their marriage out of the abyss.

priscilla-du-preez-vuXS3RvU7dw-unsplash

Most couples sign up for marriage coaching, believing they are ready to do the hard work. A few tap out early and either choose to stay in miserable marriages or file for divorce. For spouses who decide it’s too much work, I share: “You’ll have to do the hard work sooner or later if you want any happy marriage. If you walk away now, you’ll likely be in the same position with another spouse down the road. Would you like to do it now or wait until later?”


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a marriage coach along with her husband, Darin, who help couples across the world via seminars, workshops, and private sessions. She customizes a relationship journey for her clients based on their experience and curriculum from Prepare & Enrich, SYMBIS, FOCCUS, and Marriage on the Rock. Couples design their marriage, learn tools, and then work toward achieving their vision. Learn more about the ministry or sign up for a session by contacting Sandra at shinecrossings@gmail.com

10 Questions to Build Greater Intimacy

brooke-cagle-Y3L_ZQaw9Wo-unsplashThe discipline of asking open-ended questions paired with intentionally listening is a powerful gift in building intimacy. Intimacy is built first on a foundation of trust and then a belief that your partner truly knows you. You may have the trust part down but struggle with how to build greater connection. If you want to learn more about your partner and what makes him or her tick, you need to ask lots of questions.

suzana-sousa-IC1_YWQn6so-unsplashMany people are not gifted in the art of formulating and asking questions, so let me offer 10 questions that will help you know your partner at a deeper level. Each question should also be followed with asking, “Why?”

  1. What was the happiest moment of your adult life?
  2. Who has been the most important person in your life?
  3. If you had a crystal ball, what one thing would you want to know about your future?
  4. What’s the biggest risk you’ve taken?
  5. You’ve just won $1 million in the lottery; describe what tomorrow looks like? How would your answer differ if your winnings were $10 million?
  6. What’s on your bucket list? What have you scratched off your bucket list because you’ve done it?
  7. If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, whom would you choose?
  8. Describe what love looks like in action.
  9. How would you describe yourself to a stranger in one, two, and three words?
  10. What are your non-negotiables or must-haves in a forever relationship?
  11. Bonus [for the older readers]: If you had a CB radio, what would your handle be?

The list of intimacy-building questions is endless. If you liked these 10 questions, think of 10 more. Then ask your partner to answer them. I’d love to know your favorite question from either the list or one that you’ve thought of yourself. And don’t forget to tell me why it’s your favorite. You can comment below or email me.

gus-moretta-BCyfpZE3aVE-unsplash


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to be the best versions of themselves. You can contact Sandra at shinecrossings@gmail.com

Invest in a Couple’s Marriage and Change a Family’s Future

thumbnail_1abc8b5b-e72f-44d6-9a58-4a2ccb4d1d8f

James Odhiambo Ageng’a and Faith Chege


Our Ask

If you live in the United States, you’re blessed to have ready access to information and services to help you with your relationship whether dating, engaged, or married. Self-help is only an Amazon book order away, a call to your Employer Assistance Program (EAP), or a conversation with your pastor. Most people in countries across the globe don’t have access to relationship help that can radically improve their marriage and change the course of their family legacy.

I’m personally asking you to help another couple, who wants to invest in their marriage, by simply funding part or all of their materials and/or the trip expenses for Darin and me to travel to Kenya and Tanzania, where we will hold several marriage conferences and train-the-trainer workshops. Will you help us achieve a big vision to help others who are willing to help themselves?

“We’re not meant to walk alone into our vision. As long as we are connected to the source and others, God uses people to do God’s work.”

– Sandra Dillon


The Big Vision: To Put Marriage Tools in the Hands of Every Couple

Developmental mission is the name of the game and sustainability is its goal. Back in 2013, God called Darin and me into the mission field to do long-term, partnership changing work to improve communities across the globe, while locally investing in marriages. These two parallel paths have now converged into the vision God placed on our hearts for 2020: go to East Africa and help marriages and families through the power of relationship coaching. Let local marriage leaders take these tools and shape them for their community.

Our big vision is for everyone to have access to relationship coaching—every couple who is married, engaged, and dating as well as those about to date. We want everyone to be empowered with self-awareness, perspective, and tools, so they can choose to create a successful relationship. Aren’t you excited to be a part of this vision?

“One of life’s greatest rewards is knowing you helped change someone’s life for the better.”

– Sandra Dillon


The First Big Trip

Our big step into this big vision is to fly to Nairobi, Kenya, and put on several conferences on marriage strengthening and host train-the-trainer sessions. We will return to the first church we visited in October 2013, now called International Christian Center Woodlands Rongai (www.facebook.com/iccrongaicampus) where we met Faith who was the music leader for Woodlands Church Nairobi. Recently, I had the privilege of taking Faith Chege and James Ageng’a through premarital coaching via video calling. James belongs to Life Changing Sanctuary (www.facebook.com/lifechangingsanctuary). Their churches are welcoming us in 2020 with open arms.

IMG_5760Prior to departure, James and Faith will become SYMBIS (Save-Your-Marriage-Before-It-Starts) trainers by completing their online training program. They will identify couples who will be part of the train-the-trainer program and also take the SYMBIS survey prior to our arrival. They will benefit from SYMBIS and possibly be the next generation of marriage mentors.

The conference will focus on God’s laws of marriage and marriage mission/vision. The train-the-trainer program will take couples through their own couple SYMBIS report and cover finances, love, attitudes, sex, parenting, blending families, spirituality, goals, communication, conflict resolution, etc. We will answer questions and enhance their training with supplemental materials and situational stories. Darin and I will empower them and pass the torch to James and Faith as the future local SYMBIS leaders, who will then put reports into the hands of mentors and couples across their communities.

Then we are off to Tanzania with Vine & Branches and more marriage coaching….

We need financial support for training and the on-going mentoring program. SYMBIS survey prices, which seem reasonable in U.S. terms, can be astronomical for a couple who makes only $150 per month. Facilitator training is $200, and the surveys are $35 per couple. We’re creating a World Changers on Mission Fund, and asking U.S. friends, family, and supporters to contribute toward couples’ SYMBIS reports, relationship books for couples and African church libraries, and expenses to cover conferences and train-the-trainer sessions.

“It’s not enough to say you’re not part of the problem. Will you commit to be part of the solution?”

– Sandra Dillon

Our goal is to raise an initial $15,000 to start the “good works”. The first big step is to make a 2-week trip that takes us from Nairobi, Kenya, to Dar es Salaam and Mbeya, Tanzania. We dream of going to Uganda in 2021, because we already have pastors and community leaders inviting us to bring marriage strengthening to their communities.


How You Can Help

A marriage has the power to make you miserable (when bad) and fulfilled (when good). Please invest in a married or engaged couple by donating to our big vision. When you invest in a couple, you not only help them, but you also play a role in developing a healthy family legacy and to break generational curses. Your investment pays dividends for generations and helps communities thrive. Here’s no greater return on investment than to see a person or family flourish. When spouses and families are healthy, they can then go and be servant leaders.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

– Margaret Mead

No amount is too small. You can give through several options:

  1. Donate via PayPal using email: worldchangersonmission@gmail.com. Sandra Dillon is the name associated with the account.
  2. Donate via Zell to shinecrossings@gmail.com.
  3. Venmo money to Sandra-Dillon-4
  4. Mail check made out to Shine Crossings. Text me and I will provide a mailing address.

World Changers on Mission is not yet a 501c3, so all donations are a true gift. We will honor our donors’ gifts with accountability and transparency as if they are a donation. In all cases, please make a note for any restrictions on this initiative which may include:

  1. Unrestricted: use wherever needed most
  2. Use for couples’ surveys, training, and materials
  3. Use to defer expenses for your trip such as airfare, hotel, security, and in-country transportation

All donations will be acknowledged, and if you provide your email, you will be included on blogs, news, and updates so you can see the workings of your investment. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to Sandra Dillon at 281.793.3741 or worldchangersonmission@gmail.com

If financial giving is not a possibility for you, we would ask that you share this post with your friends, family, and network.


Your Request

If you know of an organization in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, who wants to connect with World Changers on Mission, please email their name, contact, and a bit of history. We’d love to reach out to them for a conversation and see how we might connect with them and include them on a future trip.


sandy-millar-YeJWDWeIZho-unsplash

Married Couples: Have You Had the Sex Talk Lately?

hop-design-dDo5fbDH5Ss-unsplash

What did you “feel” when you read Married Couples: Have You Had the Sex Talk Lately? Just the whisper of the 3-letter word SEX has the power to evoke fear and apprehension, ignite passion, nibble away at self-esteem, bring memories alive, and create fantasies—basically elicit a strong emotional and perhaps physical response. The long-running rumor mill claimed that men thought about sex every 7 seconds. Untrue, but studies do show that the average man thinks about sex 19 times a day—more often than food and sleep. Women, on the other hand, think of sex 10 times per day.  Statistics show that sex undoubtedly is an integral part of our human thoughts and lives.

When it comes to sex, there’s no one size that fits all. But if no one’s talking about sex, no one knows what fits. — Sandra Dillon

Sex: The Hot Topic

Why are we consumed with thoughts of sex, and why is it such a hot topic conjuring both pleasure and conflict? Without a doubt, we are sexual beings, and sex is one of life’s greatest physical pleasures. When God created marriage, he also created sex for pleasure, bonding, and procreation. He created sex to be enjoyable; otherwise, the human race would be in jeopardy of extinction.

Sex is one of God’s most beautiful gifts to married couples to connect and celebrate their relationship as two become one.

As a Christian Marriage Coach, I’ve seen what God makes for good within the marriage bed, Satan twists, perverts, and destroys. Some married couples have difficulty just talking about sex, even those who rate their sex life as satisfactory. When sex involves secrets or avoids difficult conversations, there’s trouble in Eden.

Based on my years spent coaching premarital and married couples on my couch, I will share some perspectives on sex that will hopefully help you understand the magnitude of the sexual dysfunction that plagues today’s relationships and offer encouragement for a more fulfilling sex life—the sex life that God meant all of us to have within marriage.

Pornography: The Sex-pectations Marriage Killer

Pornography and the media’s shaping of sexual culture have undermined sex lives, destroyed marriages, and stolen more self-esteem as often as a malignant cancer kills. History has shown a propensity to dismiss women’s sexual needs, objectify them, and exploit them through social media, advertising, and sex-trafficking. Even if a wife hasn’t personally experienced sexual abuse, she may be feel the effects of pornography weighing upon her sex life based on her husband’s relationship with it.

Although the fastest growing segment of porno addiction involves women, men still typically wrestle more with pornography based on being more visually stimulated by images than women. Pornography bombards men with messages that keep him completely ignorant on the differences in how men and women typically experience sexual pleasure.

Pornography paints this glorious picture of women enjoying sex as much as the man with thrust upon thrust. Rarely would a woman agree that this picture reflects her version of a satisfying sexual encounter. Women are more emotionally stimulated and respond to their husbands when he initiates behaviors that please her. Perhaps she needs a half-hour of intimate conversation or help cleaning up in the kitchen after dinner before heading to bedroom.

Men need direct physical touching, where women need non-sexual touching throughout the day and usually some soft touches during sex. Pornography would have you believe that normal is several minutes of pumping and a woman orgasms in delight. False. Most women do not orgasm through penile penetration. Most women climax through external stimulation of their clitoris. Men typically need to achieve orgasm for them to be satisfied; whereas, women don’t necessarily need a climax to feel the same. Without this knowledge, pornography—as teacher—paints a distorted picture of normalcy for the marriage bed.

Anger, Trust Wounds, and Stress – The Emotional Sex Killers

Sex acts like a thermometer in the marriage by measuring its temperature. Anger and hurt dramatically cool the mutual desire for sex. Unresolved anger toward a spouse is a dangerous sex killer, because it doesn’t allow the expression of love. Although men can typically have sex with their wife when angry, they typically do so as a way to create connection. Most women link sex and love so intimately that they cannot separate the two.  When a woman doesn’t feel love from her husband, she typically turns away or shuts down.

Pornography also creates trust wounds and escalates self-doubts. A wife may say, “If my husband really loved and desired me, he wouldn’t need to look at pornography.” Her pain is real, yet she may not realize that pornography is not her fault. Each spouse bears the responsibility of his or her own choices. What might have started out as innocent fun can turn into a monster that devours all marriage trust.

Unfortunately, the deep abyss of pornography eventually forces people to extremes in order to achieve the same high.  Just as drug addicts need more of the same or more powerful drugs, sex addicts need more perverse images such as naked child and sex. The brutal downside of pornography is the eventual inability to be stimulated and achieve orgasm with a real person.

Stress from the over-scheduled life is a more socially acceptable addiction that saps bedroom energy. Marriage sex usually moves to the back burner to make room for work, errands, cleaning, kids’ extracurricular activities, shopping, birthday celebrations, poker night, and book club to name just a few. One should not put off to tomorrow what one should be doing today—having sex with his or her spouse. We should re-schedule these stressors and prioritize sex.

Why should we make sex a priority? Because sexual intimacy is the glue that keeps a couple connected. Nothing has the potential to make us as happy or as miserable as the condition of our marriage. Don’t let one more family activity or work event interfere with your sex. A happy marriage is certainly not the sole outcome of happy sex and vise versa, but one cannot ignore one without it influencing the other.

What Does It Take to Have a Great Sex Life?

The definition and frequency of great sex are a reflection of the mutual appetites of husband and wife. Unless Satan has polluted the marriage bed or twisted the thoughts of a spouse in some way, most couples would say they have satisfying sex lives. Even physically disabled couples find a way to connect on their own terms. One important ingredient for great sex is open communication about needs and desires—asking for what you want—in a positive way. We each should know the pleasure points of our bodies, and it’s the spouse’s responsibility to communicate to his or her partner what feels good.

Women tend to be more reserved in asking for what they want in the bedroom. The truth is that most men want to deeply please their wives. When wives don’t speak up, husbands try their best to do what they think will, which leads to mixed results. Please wives—don’t ever fake an orgasm. When you fake an orgasm you tell your husband that what he did was good, and you’ll get more of the same.

kaitlyn-baker-uMSS5_jNc98-unsplashAnd while you’re talking about sex, have fun. Some spouses only feel comfortable with the missionary style, because they believe anything else is dirty. Have you read the book of Song of Solomon? If not, I suggest you read it once, if not twice. Unless its Biblically forbidden, what goes on between two consenting spouses is fair game. Act out fun fantasies, oral sex, different positions, and throw in some sex toys if interested. Bring energy into the marital bed.

Age can bring its challenges. Men may have difficulty getting an erection and lower production of estrogen as a woman enters menopause reduces her vaginal elasticity and lubrication. Penile sex can become painful for a women. Don’t shut down the marital sex because of these physical limitations. Find a work around. Get creative in ways that keep you physically connected and mutually satisfied. Your attitude, sexual sensitivity, and understanding in the bedroom will speak volumes to your partner.

Wrapping Up the Sex Talk

Unresolved sexual and financial disagreements can lead one spouse to file for divorce, and yet these are two topics on which most couples have difficulty communicating and resolving conflict. I encourage you to initiate a heart-felt conversation with your spouse about your sex life.

You may think your sex life is terrific and you know all this stuff.  If so, consider yourself fortunate and still ask, “How are we doing in the bedroom? Is there anything I could be doing more or less of?” It never hurts to take the temperature of your sex life every once in a while.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to be the best versions of themselves and to have thriving relationships. You can contact Sandra at shinecrossings@gmail.com

Bring FOCCUS to Your Conversations and Enrich Your Marriage

wu-jianxiong-4TET084JWaA-unsplash

Shine Crossings Ministry now offers another powerful tool to help dating and engaged couples prepare for marriage and for married couples to enrich their marital commitment. Although many couples are led by their feelings of love to walk down the aisle, a sustainable life-giving marriage requires preparation, which typically starts with key meaningful conversations. If premarital coaching was not part of your wedding preparation, it’s never to late to have those important conversations, even after having said, “I do.” The health of your marriage and of your family and its legacy depends on your relationship choices.

FOCCUS: Pre-Marital

The FOCCUS (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding & Study) Pre-Marriage Inventory requires non-married couples to independently take a relationship enrichment inventory. Afterwards, a trained facilitator will lead a couple through their report in a safe space over 2 to 5 sessions—making room for deeper conversations and increased understanding. Questions cover lifestyle expectations, friends and interests, personality match, communication, problem-solving, spirituality, personal preferences, sexuality, parenting, financial, readiness issues, and commitment.

The couple report summarizes agreement levels in important relationship areas. Even if couples don’t agree, identifying those areas of disagreement or uncertainty eliminates surprises and provides an opportunity to talk through those issues. There are also questions for specific circumstances such as interfaith, re-marriage, co-habitation, and couples with more than one set of biological children. These areas can become hot topics and should be discussed before marriage.

drew-hays-7tGqLzHcjZ8-unsplash

REFOCCUS: Marriage

Married couples looking for ways to invest in their marriage can take the REFOCCUS Marriage Enrichment Inventory. With spouses being pulled in many directions, especially those with dependent children, their conversations trend toward transactional topics such as “who’s got that” and away from the more enriching and connecting. A certified FOCCUS trainer can guide a couple to have those conversations that grow communication and marriage connection. Core sections include marriage as a process, intimacy, compatibility, communication, and commitment. There are even special sections for ministry marriages and empty-nesters. REFOCCUS is ideal for key life moments or transitions when a marriage relationship may need to be redefined such as birth of a child, major illness, job change, moving, retirement, and empty-nester.

Ready to Start?

You can learn more about the program by visiting FOCCUS. If you have questions or are already excited to pre-invest in your marriage or strengthen it, reach out for a conversation at 281.793.3741 or coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com. Shine Crossings Ministry is ready to get you on your way. After collecting some contact information, you’ll be sent a link to take the online survey. Once your report is ready, we’ll schedule your first session.

If you think investing in your marriage is a step you want to take, but not sure whether the FOCCUS approach is the best way, Shine Crossings has other premarital and marriage strengthening programs to choose from such as Prepare & Enrich, Save Your Marriage Before It Starts (SYMBIS), and Marriage on the Rock. We can also develop a customized program based on your unique couple needs.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to be the best versions of themselves. You can contact Sandra at shinecrossings@gmail.com

 

 

The 5 Respect Languages that Make Men Feel Loved

respect

Inspired by the books The Five Love Languages and Love & Respect, my marriage and relationship coaching have revealed what I call The Five Respect Languages that Make Men Feel Loved. Our culture talks endlessly about love but doesn’t talk enough about the love languages that speak specifically to boyfriends, husbands, and fathers. These five languages all reflect concepts of RESPECT. Respect is such a big word that if you ask five different men what it means, you will likely get five different definitions. However, I would guess that each description would refer to one of my five respect languages. What are they?

Let Him Lead

In today’s culture, many women are leading their families and letting their husbands take a backseat. In some cases, this role reversal stems from family modeling during childhood, where mothers made most of the decisions. In other cases, wives grab the leadership reins, because they don’t trust their husbands to lead well. Men want to lead their wives and families. Depending on their personality, some will fight for the leadership position while others will disengage. Husbands feel loved when their spouse shows their faith by entrusting them with the leadership role.

Support His Decisions

Every husband knows that his wife isn’t going to agree with every decision he makes. But if he honors her by seeking her counsel before making a decision that’s in the best interest of the family, he wants her support. The goal is not agreement but consensus. When a wife supports her husband’s decision in words and actions and is an active team member to make his decision come alive, a husband feels his wife’s love.

Appreciate Him

A husband likely makes personal sacrifices of time and money to provide for his wife and children and secure their comfort and security. He may choose to work two shifts to pay for college, take a job to make enough money so his wife can stay home, or secure a second job to pay for his kids’ sports fees. Giving words of affirmation, gifts, or serving him in ways that make his life easier lets him know that his wife recognizes and appreciates his efforts. Appreciation is a key metric in showing a man respect for what he does for his family.

Praise His Accomplishments

Men are designed to be hunters and conquerors. They set their sights on a goal, develop a plan, and then act. When a wife recognizes her husband’s accomplishments with her words to him and speaks positively of him to her family and friends, he feels appreciated. Good job! Well done! Men like to be acknowledged for what they achieve whether at the office or in the home. Praise makes him feel valued and that he’s doing the right things.

Have His Back

Stand by him. Every man wants to know when the times get tough, and it’s only a matter of time before tough times come, that his partner won’t leave. Husbands want a teammate, cheerleader, and someone who will be by his side. When the world is against him, he wants a wife whom he can count on, and one who is praying for him.

Next Steps

In my practice, I find women prefer to be loved and men want to be respected. It’s as simple as that. If we truly love one another, we will love people in the language that speaks to them. If you’re a wife, ask yourself how well you are loving your husband with the respect languages. Then ask your husband what he thinks. See where the conversation goes!


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to be the best versions of themselves. You can contact Sandra at shinecrossings@gmail.com

 

 

He Needs Respect and She Needs Love

love

Love and respect are like the head and tail of a coin—conjoined yet with their backs to each other. In some ways, they are viewed as opposites, yet they are the glue that keeps a marriage together and strong. Which side do you gravitate toward: love or respect? Let me guess. If you’re a man, you want respect, and if you’re a woman, you said love. Am I right?

What’s the Difference Between Love and Respect?

When I coach couples and enter the discussion on marriage needs, in the top five for men, and usually in the number one position, is RESPECT. For a woman that number one position typically involves an expression of LOVE such as caring, affection, and intimacy. As I always tell couples, Respect and Love are big words—meaning if you ask 10 people to define love and respect you will get 10 different answers.

When I ask a wife, “What does love look like in action from your husband?” I get answers such as (1) share your feelings, fears, and joys with me and ask about mine, (2) listen to me without trying to fix my problem, (3) spiritually lead our family by going to church and setting an example for our children, and (4) create a marriage environment where I feel safe.  When I ask a husband, “What does respect look like in action from your wife?” I get answers such as (1) support me in my work and ability to make money for our family, (2) don’t turn away from me sexually, and (3) share your opinions and thoughts with me but support my decisions.

These answers are quite different. You likely never hear a woman complain she’s not getting the those things the husband wants and vise versa.

Are Men’s Needs Getting a Backseat to Women’s?

On the micro-level, I don’t see that men or women are disadvantaged, but on the macro-level, women’s needs are getting more attention than men’s. Why do I say that? Our world talks about love, love, and more love, especially, if you’re a Christ follower. We quote Scripture about love such as “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31) and go so far as to advocate that we are to love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). The Bible is full of stories about love, and we are encouraged to love unconditionally.

On the other hand, our world doesn’t give the same emphasis to respect.  When was the last time you hear someone say, “We should respect unconditionally?” You probably can’t recall a time, because we don’t usually say those two words together. In fact, it’s more common to hear what Rodney Dangerfield made famous, “How come I don’t get no respect?”

The Balance of Love and Respect

Happy and connected couples operate in a continuous cycle of love and respect. A husband gives his wife love, and in return a wife gives her husband respect. When the foundation of the marriage is built on love and respect, both are getting their most important need met. Dysfunctional marriages are those where the wife says, “I can’t respect him until he loves me,” and a husband says, “I can’t love her until she respects me.”  Both need to stop behaving as children and grow up.

Wedding vows usually include some version of the classic togetherness “until death do us part” after committing to weather the storms of “in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer.”  If I was in charge of writing wedding vows, I’d add “to respect him unconditionally even when he hasn’t earned it and to love her unconditionally even when she doesn’t deserve it.” Do you think anyone would dare include it?


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in premarital/marriage, finances, ministry, and leadership. She coaches individuals and couples to be the best versions of themselves. You can contact Sandra at shinecrossings@gmail.com